From the laboratory to the therapy room: National dissemination and implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System

Am Psychol. 2014 Jan;69(1):19-33. doi: 10.1037/a0033888. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


Despite their established efficacy and recommendation--often as first-line treatments--in clinical practice guidelines, evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) have largely failed to make their way into mainstream clinical settings. Numerous attempts over the years to promote the translation of EBPs from science to practice, typically relying on one-dimensional dissemination approaches, have yielded limited success. As part of the transformation of its mental health care system, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to disseminate and implement a number of EBPs for various mental and behavioral health conditions throughout the VA health care system. This article examines VHA's multidimensional model and specific strategies, involving policy, provider, local systems, patient, and accountability levels, for promoting the national dissemination and implementation of EBPs in VHA. In addition, the article identifies key lessons learned and next steps for further promoting EBP delivery and sustainability in the VA health care system. Beyond promoting the availability of effective treatments for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and for veterans of previous combat eras, VHA's EBP dissemination and implementation model and key lessons learned may help to inform other private and public health care systems interested in disseminating and implementing EBPs.

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans / psychology*